Historic designation sought for Lawrence Avenue District

Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin announced this week that the Massachusetts Historical Commission has approved the Lawrence Avenue Historic District in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. The bid will be submitted to the Register at the National Park Service for final consideration and designation.

“The Massachusetts Historical Commission is dedicated to preserving the Commonwealth’s rich historic, architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources,” Galvin said. “The Lawrence Avenue Historic District is a well-preserved collection of buildings spanning the 1870s to the 1970s, with a development history mirroring that of greater Dorchester.”

The district, situated between Columbia Road and Blue Hill Avenue, is one of seven nominations for resources around the Commonwealth approved for nomination to the National Register by the Commission at its latest meeting. 

Lawrence Avenue Historic District developed as part of the transformation of Dorchester as a suburb of Boston in the second half of the 19th century. Subdivision of large parcels—agricultural land and estates—created densely packed neighborhoods like that on Lawrence Avenue by the turn of the 20th century. Following urbanization, the neighborhood became predominantly Jewish; by the mid-20th-century, it had become predominantly African American.

The district includes works by the architect Denis Blackett dating to the early 1970s, representing a neighborhood revitalization effort in response to 1950s-1960s urban renewal, which disproportionately affected African-American areas of Boston.